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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 5, 2009 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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broadly among the other aspects of nato. i think it would be very, very critical. a couple things i wanted to ask you about. >> if i would make one additional point. i need to attribute more countries to nato or more to this conference. what we're seeing is actually an extension of special operations cooperation beyond nato, and those who participate in other operations where they may work with the nato soft country are now becoming part of this team. so this first annual conference we came to last year was actually attended by some non-nato countries because they choose to develop those relationships. it's really encouraging to see this play out. >> it's invaluable as the mantra of counterinsurgency by through and which you want to work with the host nations. many are learning the necessary skills to implement that policy. i want to ask a little about the contrasting issues.
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what we have always tried to do on this committee is find ways to enable socom to have a slightly more nimble approach to acquisition. so the more normal processes are difficult when you're operating with such speed and so much technology that is rapidly changing. if you go through a normal 18-month acquisition process. by the time you have acquired the product, it is out of date. so we have tried to speed it up in a couple of different areas. curious how you think that is going in general. also wanted to give you an opportunity to respond. "the washington post" has written an article recently critical of some of the contracting that it hadn't followed the process in some instances. i have a very strong bias that browning the d.o.d. in process is one of the things that is inhibiting our ability to move forward. but that's not to say that we don't need to have some transparent process so that we make sure it's all on the up and up and done in the best interests of the taxpayers. i just want to give you an opportunity to comment on some of those issues and where you see it headed.
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>> i certainly agree with you. i am encouraged by all that secretary of defense gates has said about relooking at how acquisition is done departmentwide with an eye towards cost reduction and streamlining acquisition processes. within the special operations command, as you said, we are intended by congress, i believe to be more agile than the services can be with their large acquisition programs using our mfp-11 budget for the special operations peculiar procurement actions that we take. i focused on this a couple of years ago and investigating our own house. i realized that many of the barnacles that have grown on our process were barnacles we let grow. as i termed it within my own headquarters, i thought we were operating comfortably. sort of in the middle of our authorizations and certainly not pushing the edge.
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so we have several initiatives within our headquarters to provide more agility internally. along the way, we have sought and been granted relief from participation in some of the servicewide joint acquisition processes which had been applied probably improperly to special operations programs. vice chairman of the joint chiefs who runs some of these processes has relieved us of those where the acquisition project is -- program is a special operations peculiar program. we do operate under the same laws and policies and reporting requirements. we have got a ways to go. in terms of continuing to scrape the barnacles off. but i think we're continuing to make progress in that regard. we'll certainly continue to report to you how that is
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going. but i'm encouraged by what we have seen here just in the last few months. >> with respect to the d.o.d. i.t. report, that was not an acquisition contracting issue. that was a contract that we let with a single provider of many services to the special operations community. they modify equipment. they maintain equipment. they repair equipment, refurbish it, they restore equipment for us. they do build sort of small one-off items for us, design and build those. it's a comprehensive set of activities that they perform for us and the dod-i.g. look into that which we appreciate highlighted three findings. two of which we concurred
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mostly with and have taken several internal actions to resolve working with i.g. and i think to their satisfaction. the third one actually had to do with a potential anti-deficiency act violation which it was our responsibility to conduct a preliminary review of. we did that. our preliminary review identified that the -- that the finding had some merit. there is the potential of an a.d.a. violation. so this week, my comptroller has initiated a former investigation into that finding which is our responsibility to do. we have nine months to report the results of that investigation. we have about -- we have 90 days to respond formally to the -- to the release of the final i.g. report. >> one more question.
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just in focusing for a moment. your take on afghanistan or pakistan on the various situations there. in particular, two areas. in both -- and this is something that general mcchrystal highlighted in his comments yesterday and day before yesterday in front of the senate. talking about the balance between confronting the enemy and being able to track down the terrorists that threaten us and at the same time protecting against civilian casualties and taking a more classic counterinsurgency approach. i agree with general mcchrystal that we need the afghan people on our side. right now the two greatest threats of them being on our side are number within the civilian casualty issue, both real and in some cases i think generated by taliban propaganda, but we need to get better at countering propaganda, getting our own message out. but also it is a very, very real concern. of course the other issue is the efficacy of the afghan
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government which the people of afghanistan do not believe in. i think certainly the best approach there is to try to go local as much as possible. the afghan people are far more likely to trust their local tribes and work with their local provincial governments than they are to fly off on whatever the national government winds up looking like, not to say we shouldn't try to make the national government a little better as well. in balancing now afghanistan going forward, how do you see the best approach to striking that balance and with regard to pakistan, this issue affects pakistan as well. in fact, david kill cullen testified before our committee a while back. saying that the strikes, the drone strikes in the in a that are actually fairly well-thought-of in the fattah because the people who live there have been dealing with these violent psychopaths who have been running their communities. it's in pakistan itself and in
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afghanistan where the civilian population sees this as a threat to their sovereignty and therefore is less likely to be supportive of us. but also specifically pakistan needs to learn counterinsur generality. and i won't go through the litany of challenges there. you know them well. but we need to be able to help them while at the same time we have a limited role to play. their sovereignty is very important. it's incredibly important in getting support for their government that we not have too heavy of a hand there. i guess my two questions at the end of all that is what can we do to better help pakistan get to the counterinsurgency level they need to get at. because as successful as they have been in the swat and recently, it's a pretty heavy-handed approach that has created two million to three million refugees as it's driven back to the taliban. and how do you see striking the balance in afghanistan between fithe the people we need to
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fight and stopping the number of civilian casualties. >> i think you just said it better than i could. i certainly support everything that general mcchrystal said in his confirmation hearing a couple of days ago. if i could go to pakistan first. >> please. >> i think that we can't help pakistan more than they want to be helped. one of the filters on sort of their willingness to be helped is how the pakistan military is perceived within pakistan. it is the strongest element of pakistan heskally. it is the element of government upon which the people depend. i think that we have to be very careful in recognizing that we can't take actions that would cause the pakistan military to appear to the pakistani people to be an extension of ours. we can only help them in a way that truly helps them, and they are much more expert in that
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than we are. so i think the best thing we can do is develop the relationship to erode whatever element of mistrust exists, help the pakistani people understand that our interests there are theirs and that our commitment is a long-term commitment for the good of pakistan and the stability of the region. but it will require us to work very carefully and very wisely with the pakistan military and the frontier corps. regarding afghanistan, i would highlight that afghanistan is a uniquely complex environment. counterinsurgency in afghanistan is very different than it has been anywhere elsewhere we have operated. it is really a village by village, valley by valley
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counterinsurgency. one of the things that i'm finding myself saying more often is that presence without value is perceived as occupation, and in afghanistan in particular occupation is resisted. it's simply their culture to resist outsiders who pride themselves on a long history of resisting outside influence. much of afghanistan has not felt the presence of a central government in kabul ever. and as you said, the -- i think a large part of our goal there is to encourage the people who are now deciding where their allegiance will be. it's urging -- it's causing them to decide to place their bet with a legitimate government.
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at whatever level that is. whether it's legitimate tribal, local, regional or federal government. it will come down to ultimately where they place their bet. and i think in absence of solid metrics, it will be our sense of where the people are beginning to place their bets that will lead us to understand whether or not our efforts are successful in the hind hinterlands of afghanistan. that will require a careful approach. it will require as small a footprint as we can get away with in the places we go with the capability of security considerations as part of that. it will require i believe a shift towards -- more of a shift towards true local regional knowledge, however that is obtained.
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we have to get beyond generalizations in afghanistan into true, deep knowledge of tribal relationships, family histories, the nuances of the terrain and the weather and how that affects how business is done, how money is made, how their world operates. if we are to be predictable in our effects, i think an awful large part of what we have got to develop is an ability to be -- i said that wrong. i don't mean predictable in our effects. i mean accurate in our predictions of our effects. we have to have a better sense of the impact of our behavior as we put our plans together to work in the remote regions of afghanistan.
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i think this is a long-term commitment for us in order to build that depth of knowledge and then allow it to have the impact in the places where that needs to occur. this will not be people deciding overnight where their allegiance is. it's going to have to be convincing them over a long period of time that they are better off placing their bet with the local regional governments than with the illegitimate power players in the region. >> i thought of one more. shifting to africa for the moment, we recently did a codel throughout many portions of africa. we got a little bit of a brief on aqim and the surrounding area of mauritania, mali, algeria. in the end, we know there is activity of violent extremist groups there. al qaeda has set up a fran
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kornheiser most present in algeria, but also in vast areas of mali and mauritania that are largely unpopulated, there is -- we know there is some activity from al qaeda sympathetic groups. we have some presence in different places. not a great deal. how concerned are you about that area? is that an area where we need greater coverage at least in terms of the i.s.r., because there are huge, vast open spaces out there. that there is the stuff going on but we don't have a lot of coverage of it so we don't know exactly. is that something we should be really concerned about or not? >> i think we should understand that as pressure is applied as it was in iraq and now in afghanistan and as the pakistanis are applying pressure in pakistan, that this will not necessarily end the activity.
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it will shift some of the sanctuaries to other places. i think in these large expansions of undergoverned regions simply because the governments don't have the capacity to govern in some of the places where they have the will, then we have got to find ways of having a better understanding of what's happening there. i.s.r. would be one of those possibilities. >> certainly. thank you very much. i don't think my colleagues have any more questions. >> our subcommittee has many roles, but one that we would consider to be most important is being as supportive as possible to what the special operations command is doing. we could not ask for a better partner than we have in you as the commander there and look forward to continuing that relationship. thank you for coming out and testifying. we look forward to working with you. with that, we are adjourned. >> thank you very much.
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>> here's what's ahead on c-span. next a senate confirmation hearing for tarp administrator nominee herbert allison. then craig newmark, founder of craigslist, talks to a conference on computers, freedom, and privacy. >> this weekend on "q&a," indiana's republican governor mitch daniels talks about the current situation in his state. that's sunday here on c-span. and here is a look at some of our book tv programming this weekend. this weekend on cable-satellite
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public affairs network's book tv, live, the midwest's largest literary event. saturday, starting at 11:00 eastern and throughout the day, panels and authors on the economy, globalization and the american worker, homosexual rights, former illinois governor rod blagojevich, civil rights and sojourner truth, the mob and counterfeiting, and a look at the graphic adaptation of studs terkel's working. later on "after words," stanley greenberg who is interviewed by mary matalin, former assistant and counselor in the bush-cheney white house. and live sunday on "in depth with bill ayers, and his latest is "racecourse against white supremacy ." he will take your phone calls.
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for a complete schedule of this weekend's programs and times, go online to >> earlier today, president barack obama held a joint news conference in germany with chancellor angela merkel. later they visited the buchenwald concentration camp. his next destination is france with stops tomorrow in paris and normandy. the president's speech to the muslim world in cairo, egypt, continues to generate global reaction. we'll show that speech again this sunday at 10:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span. herbert allison is president obama's nominee to be the next tarp administrator at the treasury department. his senate confirmation hearing before the banking committee runs an hour and 20 minutes.
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>> the committee will come to order. let me welcome all of you here this morning. let me say to my friend and colleague senator shelby, the former chairman of the committee, will be with us shortly this morning. let me welcome our nominee this morning, mr. herbal i son, who is our nominee to be the assistant secretary-designate for financial stability at the department of the treasury. we welcome you as well, mr. allison. let me begin by thanking you for your willingness to serve during these times. i'm going to take a couple of minutes and some opening comments. i will ask my colleagues
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whether or not they would like to share any opening thoughts on this matter. then we'll turn to you for opening statements. as soon as senator shelby comes in, i will give him a chance to make any opening comments. then we'll get to some questions for you if we can. let me begin by welcoming everyone here. it's no overstatement to suggest that this position for which you have been nominated, that of assistant secretary for the office of financial stability within the treasury department, is among the most important this committee will consider in this term of congress. you have inherited a giant task, none bigger than overseeing the troubled assets relief program. the office of financial stability was created as part of the emergency economic stabilization act. congress believed that the size of the program, $700 billion at the time last fall, required the full-time attention of skilled professionals to oversee and manage purchases made under the program. at first, some resisted the call to establish such an office, arguing it would create a layer of bureaucracy within the treasury. but i and many of our
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colleagues including senator schumer, senator tester who were deeply involved in the formation of the emergency economic stabilization program last fall believe it was an emergency mechanism to provide transparency so the public could understand the government's decisions. now with 12 tarp initiatives announced by treasury, the need for a dedicated office to ensure the proper management of their money, the public money, taxpayer money is obviously clear, and proper, competent management is what the tarp program desperately needs. we need strong, steady management to ensure that the core purposes that congress outlined with the emergency economic stabilization act, protecting homeownership, college funds, retirement accounts, life savings and jobs are fulfilled by the tarp. tarp funds must be used to get credit flowing again to families to pay for homes, a car or college tuition. and to small businesses.
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to stock inventory and to meet payrolls. because with 10,000 foreclosures, every day being filed and 20,000 playoffs occurring every day, families and small businesses still need our help desperately in this country. thankfully we have begun to see a sharp change in direction for the tarp program. from the homeownership preservation program which draws upon the $75 billion in tarp funds to more accountability from firms which receive taxpayer assistance. but as the news this week that general motors was failing for bankruptcy reminds us, we are hardly out of the woods, and i would add that this committee intends to hold another hearing next wednesday to examine the administration's plans to restructure g.m. and chrysler. there are also real questions about the future of the public-private partnership to purchase so-called legacy assets, from banks and other institutions which have put an enormous strain on our financial system. when the treasury secretary was here a few weeks ago, i asked him if this program would work and if he believed banks would
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still be willing to sell the so-called toxic assets at discounted prices, given the better than expected stress results that would completed about two weeks ago. he said he expected those programs to begin operating over the next six weeks, but some are arguing that the program may no longer be necessary because of the unanticipated strength of these financial institutions. so, mr. al son, the responsibility falls to you to provide the kind of steady leadership our country needs to navigate through the complexities of this economic crisis. with america's financial system continuing to hang in the balance, this office that you will be heading needs a strong and vigilant manager, someone who can follow through on commitments made and maximize the return to taxpayers as well as keeping them well informed and understand -- in understandable language as to what is occurring, why it's occurring, what our plans are, and where we are headed. what the shortfalls are, the pitfalls, what's not working as
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well as what is working in clear, clear language. it is difficult for the public as well as many members up here to understand on a daily basis how this is all unfolding, how it is working. we need someone who will listen, who is responsive to legitimate concerns raised by the tarp oversight bodies, makes course corrections when necessary, keeps a watchful eye to prevent any conflicts of interest that might arise, and keeps this committee very well informed. we'll have to determine some way to do this, but almost on a regular basis so that we're knowledgeable about anything that you see we ought to be aware of rather than just waiting for a hearing process to occur before we discover or read about it in the newspapers. and we will need someone who is judicious when it comes to committing the remaining tarp funds as well estimated at some $109 billion. when we ascertain which areas of our financial system require assistance and which do not. above all we need someone who can inspire confidence, who can
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articulate a clear vision to the public and policymakers regarding the roles the tarp program can and must play in helping our economy recover. mr. allison, you know as well as i that you face a difficult road ahead. as i'm sure you have discovered during the last several months overseeing fannie mae, there will be no parades on the national mall should you succeed, mind you, but i hope you will use your diverse professional background in the fields of finance, retirement services, and education to fulfill the core purposes that congress outlined with the emergency economic stabilization act. you have an incredible background. it really is remarkable. when i looked over the speerns you have had in these areas of finance, of retirement issues, of education, you're tremendously well suited to do this in my view. you have had a dished academic career. you have served our country with great distinction, and the navy during the vietnam conflict. a graduate of stanford as well as yale undergraduate degree. so you really have the tools
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and the experience in the background i think to make a significant difference. i personally am excited about your nomination. i think this is a great opportunity for us to get this right and give the country that renewed sense of confidence about how this program is working and why it's in their interest that we succeed with it. you and your family have epitomized the importance of public service. you know you now have a unique opportunity to affect the role that our financial markets and institutions play in the lives of virtually every american citizen. in many ways, you will hold the keys to the future of housing, financial and economic crises that we're currently encountering. and you have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference for millions of americans, i know you are aware. i know you have some family members here this morning. why don't you take a minute. i will introduce them as well. can we do that before we start? >> welcome.
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>> captain in the u.s. navy. >> surface ships or submarines? let me turn to senator tester. >> thank you, mr. chairman. those introductions cleared up a lot, because when i came in, i met mr. allison in the back room, and i walked out here and i saw his brother george. i thought wow, how did he get out here so quick? >> he's going to be good at this. >> exactly. very, very good. >> thank you, chairman dodd. i want to thank you for calling this hearing, and of course welcome mr. allison. i want to echo the chairman's comments and thank you for your willingness to serve and your willingness to appear before the committee today. it was milton freedman who said nothing so permanent as a temporary government program. we need to make sure that tarp does what it needs to do and
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wind it down to get the taxpayers back as soon as possible. i know you feel that way. i want to commend you, mr. allison, for your willingness to serve your efforts at fannie mae. i also want to urge you to be mindful of what i think we're going to need to do to get out of this economic recovery. we need to be mindful of the successes of this economic turnaround will be driven by small business and middle-class families. it's important as i said earlier to repay the taxpayers quickly as possible and not just reinvest the funds because we have them. i think this money was specifically put out for a specific reason. we need to keep that in mind as we move forward. we also need to understand the community banks play a critical role in the life bloods of our small rural communities across this country. they really weren't the cause of the economic problem at least from my perspective. and maybe most difficult is we need to deal with the b


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